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We bought this 400-year-old bastide in Provence

by Emilie Johnson

Summers in Provence feel like a permanent state. Every day a cerulean sky, cicadas cheering in the trees, sunsets that launder the soul. We bought this old bastide four years ago, took a giant leap of faith and now it feels everlasting, like we will never leave.

Romy in the Staircase

Romy in the Staircase

Little Romy climbing the 400-year old staircase of our house up to bed. Fais de beaux rêves - sweet dreams, little one.


A Provence Kitchen
A Provence Kitchen

Herbs hung from the garden in our Provence kitchen this morning.


Jasmine
Jasmine

Our jasmine plants have swelled wide and have taken over the door frame, as all the best plants in Provence do. A wave of perfume far and wide.


Floating Market
Floating Market

The markets of Provence yield magic. This one is a marché flottant (floating market). The vendors glide on the waters of the Sorgue River on their wooden “barques” selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, tapenade, tarines, and cheese.


Pomegranate 
Pomegranate

Pomegranate - a delight plucked from the trees in Provence. This one delivered from a friend’s ancient tree down the lane.


Late Dinner
Late Dinner

A dinner with friends under a drowsy sky. Provence summer evenings give us light that bides - makes eating late à la française a real delight.


Berries
Berries

Serving only fresh berries straight from the village market for this May lunch…nothing else can compare.


Freedom 
Freedom

We came to Provence to set our kids free…it’s working. These two went from little New York City urbanites to free spirits, running everywhere unshod.


Lavender
Lavender

An evening dance in the successions of the Provence lavender fields, all senses rapt. Bees buzzing, intoxicating air, overcome.


Velvet Waves
Velvet Waves

At the end of a May day, the poppy fields of Provence swell with sensuality, velveteen waves.


Sunflower
Sunflower

For a time, sunflowers stand glorious in the fields of Provence - tracking the sun in its daily arc until eventually their colors dim and they bow their heavy heads to its might. Ready for harvest. 


Apricots, Lavender, Roses
Apricots, Lavender, Roses

All picked from our yard. Apricots picked from the tree are a different fruit entirely - velvety, juicy - filled with honey water. The best are the ones hanging in the light, still warmed by the sun when you take a bite.


Vines at Sunset 
Vines at Sunset

I love this road in Provence. It takes us to Aix-en-Provence from our village. Infinite vines unfolding to the skyline and the sunset there on the horizon.


Smell like sun 
Smell like sun

White dresses hanging in mid-air. They make their way to small girls who then smell like Provence sun.

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